South Sudan

President Kiir’s government in talks with opposition military leader


South Sudan government says is in talks with a key military formerly allied to opposition leader Riek Machar to cross over and join government of ‘National Unity’

Gatdet General Peter Gatdet Yak, was Deputy Chief of General Staff in the opposition group Machar. He defected from Machar in 2015 and is now the leader of the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), a rebel movement in South Sudan

South Sudan government adviser on Security Tut Kew Gatluak said approaching the defected army General through dialogue was important for consolidating peace and stability in the country

“This country called South Sudan needs all of us to cooperate. This is our country. There is no need to destroy it. The solution can’t be achieved through holding weapons. It can be found around the table of dialogue. There is nothing which cannot be solved. The president of the republic is ready to bring peace through peaceful dialogue,” Gatluak said.

Analysts say President Salva Kiir and his deputy Taban Deng Gai approved behind the scene talks with the defected general as a political and military strategy to weaken the support base of his main political rival and armed opposition leader, Machar.

Several government officials have repeatedly claimed in a series of interviews with Sudan Tribune on Sunday that General Peter Gatdet Yak has indicated readiness to abandon the armed struggle and return to Juba.

“We are all South Sudanese and it is therefore our duty to collectively reject any political decision by some politicians that starts with the shedding of blood,” Gatluak said.

Yak is currently living in Nairobi, Kenya, after he left Khartoum, Sudan, two weeks ago

He came to the limelight after the European Union imposed sanctions, accusing him of leading an attack of the town of Bentiu, in which about 400 people were killed in the 2014 Bentiu massacre.


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